Agreement On Disarmament At The Superpower Level Is Essential. Why

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    Several nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established in the regional context (Antarctica, Latin America, the South Pacific, South-East Asia, Africa and Central Asia), while the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CSE) of 1990 has led to massive conventional disarmament. During this period, arms agreements on nuclear weapons were also concluded. On July 31, 1991, Bush and Gorbachev signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I). Negotiations on the technically complex agreement had begun as early as 1982. The agreement required the USSR to reduce its nuclear arsenal by about 25 percent and the United States by 15 percent within seven years of ratification by the two nations. In numbers, the USSR would reduce its nuclear warheads from 10,841 to 8,040, and the United States would reduce its warheads from 12,081 to 10,395. These amounts would bring each nation`s nuclear arsenals down to roughly the level that existed in 1982, when the START negotiations began. The agreement also limited the development of new missiles and required a series of verification procedures, including on-site inspections using samples, monitoring of missile production facilities and the replacement of data strips from missile tests. Historically, basic arms control and disarmament techniques can be divided into six general categories: although the concepts of “disarmament” and “arms control” are widespread, there has been and often has been considerable confusion as to their meanings. In the nineteenth century, particularly during and after the 1899 Hague Conference, “disarmament” became a fashionable concept to describe all efforts to limit, reduce or control war equipment. While some individuals may apply disarmament in the true sense of the word — the total elimination of armaments — most diplomats and commentators do not. The United Nations and its humanitarian organizations use it as an umbrella term for all measures, “from small steps towards reducing tensions or confidence-building, through arms regulation or arms control, to general and complete disarmament”.

    In a profound divergence from the superpower analysis that served as the basis for Cold War planning, it has been said that the threat comes from smaller, weaker nations. . . .